It’s the annual spectacle of the month before winter, featuring the colours of fall and a supporting cast of a million falling leaves.
October is usually highlighted by the brief, but welcome, joy of Indian Summer. And as an added — though somewhat costly — feature, there’s the annual payout of never-ending registration fees for hockey, ringette, swimming, music and everything else.
I wonder if the banks offer a “registration-fee” bank loan.
This is also the month that usually gives us the first snow of the coming season, whether we’re ready or not. The flakes may not pile up and may melt immediately, but they always serve as Mother Nature’s gentle reminder to assess the winter clothing for chillier days ahead.
Which brings us to ...
The Ode to Snow
Their grass was greener,
Their flowers bloomier,
Which made my lawn look all the gloomier.
But winter’s here and now who cares;
My snow is just as white as theirs!
• October 1, 1903 — The first World Series of Baseball began in Boston as the Boston Americans took on the Philadelphia Nationals.
• October 5, 1921 — Grantland Rice hosted the first live radio broadcast of a World Series game over WJZ in Newark, New Jersey.
• October 1, 1932— Babe Ruth’s famous World Series “called shot.” The Babe ambled up to bat, pointed to a spot in the right field stands, and smashed a home run to that exact spot.
• October 7, 1916 — The most one-sided intercollegiate football game of all time took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Tech crushed Cumberland 222-0. Oops.
• October 8, 1871 — The Great Chicago Fire left 325,000 people homeless. Do you remember the famous story about how the fire started? Supposedly, Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern during milking and that small fire eventually spread through the entire city.
Mrs. O.Leary was actually in bed when the Chicago fire broke out and had done the milking some time earlier. A reporter later admitted to having made up the “cow” yarn to add a dash of colour to his story.
• October 9, 1000 — Leif Ericson, the Norwegian explorer, probably landed on Canada’s eastern shore and called the area Vinland.
• October 6, 1492 — Out at sea, Christopher Columbus changed course after sighting a flock of birds. And six days later, he discovered land (probably The Bahamas). Later in the same month, he stumbled onto the island of Cuba, which he thought was part of China. All of this was apparently before Rand McNally created his famous atlas.
• October 10 — There’s one of those annual meteorite showers, and yet another one on the 23rd. There are eight times each year when meteorite sightings are more prominent than usual. The dates are: January 3, April 22, May 6, August 13, October 10 and 23, November 10, and December 12.
• October 14 — Thanksgiving. The day when the whole family gathers together and gives thanks that they don’t have to eat turkey again until Christmas!
• October 23, 1874 — The first international football game played in Canada featured Harvard vs. McGill. It was played in Montreal and Harvard won. The Canadian version of football began evolving a few years earlier as a hybrid of British rugby.
• October 23, 1929 — The New York stock market closed down $5 billion in an avalanche of selling. Six days later, the market collapsed.
• October 31, 1923 — A heat wave started in western Australia sending temperatures higher than 38°C (100°F) for over five consecutive months.
• October 31 — According to an old legend:
“The last day of October tells winter — drunk or sober.
“Wild with snow and cold, or mild and self-controlled.”
• October 31 — Halloween. Try these riddles:
What did the werewolf say after he'd eaten a clown?
“I feel funny.”
What’s the difference between a witch and the letters K, M, A, S, E?
One makes spells and the other spells “MAKES.”
What did the monster say after he’d eaten a roll of film?
“I enjoyed the book more.”
What would you call a baby witch?